NEW YORK -- A few months ago, saying that right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez would have a big impact on the Orioles' postseason run would've been far-fetched. Now, it's a reality.
Jimenez, removed from the rotation in the first half of the season for the second time in three years, had a sensational second half and is Baltimore's hottest pitcher. While the O's have gotten solid years from Chris Tillman, who will start Tuesday's American League Wild Card Game at 8 p.m. ET on TBS, and Kevin Gausman, Jimenez is the guy who can put the rotation over the top.
Jimenez was twice sent to the bullpen this season (like he was in 2014), only this time he took the opportunity and ran with it. After going 5-9 with a 7.38 ERA in the first half of the season, Jimenez posted a 2.82 second-half ERA in 12 games (eight starts).
"That's the main thing for me, I have a lot of faith. It doesn't matter how many times you fall, they say, it's how many times you get up. That's something I've always put in my head," said Jimenez, who has allowed just 19 earned runs over 60 2/3 second-half innings. "I thank God every day for giving me the strength to find a way to fight and recover."
Jimenez has not logged at least six innings just once in his past six starts, tossing a complete game on Sept. 5 against Tampa Bay. He ended the regular season having not allowed an earned run in 17 consecutive innings. While he doesn't figure to factor into the Wild Card Game, though, Jimenez will be in the bullpen if needed, should the O's advance.
Jimenez has shown some incredible poise under pressure before and will need to channel that again should Baltimore square off against Texas in the AL Division Series.